Rest. Wait. Follow. Me?

sheep in a meadow

It’s great to do things for God. But it MUST be according to His will, His Spirit, His leading, and His timing. I have learned that if I run ahead and do things on my own, I just make a big mess. A really big mess.

Not only do I not bless anyone, I can even cause harm when I try to do things in my strength, my effort, and my wisdom.

It’s hard for me to be still and wait. I don’t want to waste time. Life is short! Running ahead with my own plans is easy. My normal tendency is to want to just take off and go about 100 miles per hour feeling like I am DOING something important for God. Whether He has called me to that thing or not. Whether it is by His Spirit and assignment or not.

But God has been calling me to a MUCH slower pace. And a LOT of waiting, at times.

Because… He is good.

There’s nothing wrong with making plans in advance, necessarily. We need to make some plans. We do need to think about the future, at times, and pray about possible options. But sometimes I end up expending a lot of energy over potential decisions that may happen way down the road that we may not even need to ever make.

It’s critical that I remember that the Lord is in control, not me. I must be ready to set aside my plans every second for God’s plans.

Turns out, I don’t have to have everything figured out in advance.

A Pillar of Cloud and Fire

God has also been showing me recently that following Him is a lot like the picture of Israel following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. Exodus 40:34-38

The Israelites had no idea when God would move them or how long they might stay. God didn’t tell them His plan in advance. Sometimes, they stayed in a place only one night and the cloud moved the next day so they broke camp and followed. Other times, the cloud stayed in one place for a month or longer.

They were a lot like sheep, following their Good Shepherd.

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

It makes me think of how God leads me. I don’t know His plan any more than these adorable little lambs know their shepherd’s plan. I don’t know what He will do even 5 minutes from now. And yet, He is with me. He does lead me.

Through His Word. Through prayer. Through godly counsel. Through circumstances. Through His “still, small voice.” Through people in positions of leadership in my life.

He is great at leading me through my wonderful husband who thinks so very differently from me. And He leads in other ways, too.

I have learned that human plans can change very quickly. I don’t want to put much weight on them.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17

In one heartbeat, our entire reality can suddenly change.

Only God really knows what will happen. And only God can truly know what will be best in any given situation.

All I really need to do is seek God’s beautiful face. Meaning, all I need to do is worship, thank, praise, and trust Him. As I keep my spiritual eyes focused on Him, He will direct my steps and give us the prompting, the open doors, the provision, the opportunities, the desires, the calling, the vision, the assignments, the wisdom, and the direction that I need.

This takes a whole lot of strain off of me. I don’t need to know the plan. And you know what else? Huge light bulb moment…

My husband doesn’t even need to know God’s plan in advance, either!

I just need to love and trust that God has the plan and He will reveal it to both of us one step at a time – at just the right time. I have found that He absolutely will as I devote myself fully to following and trusting Him.

When I say,

Lord,

Do ALL that You want with me and in me and with my family. Lead my career and ministry in Your narrow path that leads to Life. I want to experience as much of You as possible. I want to yield to Your Lordship completely. I want to get to see everything You want to provide and know and experience all of Your Spirit that I can possibly receive.

I leave everything open. I give you total access to every door in my life. Every possibility in the future. Every talent and gift I have. Everyone in my family. Every trial. Every blessing. It’s all completely Yours.

Let Your will be done 100% in my life. I don’t want to miss out on one good thing You have for me. I want to experience every bit of Your unfathomable love. I want You do to whatever will bring You the greatest glory in my life. Amen…

It is amazing what He will do.

ISAIAH 30:1-3

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
    that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
    without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
    and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
    and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.

ISAIAH 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

ISAIAH 30:21 (God’s plan for His people with the New Covenant in Christ)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

I want to be more like that little lamb who just seeks to be close to her shepherd and is ready to follow wherever he may go in a moment’s notice. It’s not about me, my plans, my opinions, my wisdom, or my thoughts about what would be best. It is all about Him!

It is a lot more simple than I ever realized.

SHARE

Have you learned something about resting in Christ, waiting on God, and following Him that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear the godly wisdom you have gleaned in your walk with the Lord.

RELATED

What Did the Pillar of Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night Signify? by www.gotquestions.org

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Resting in Christ

Have You Opened a Door to the Enemy?

open double door

Spiritual warfare is a strange concept to our Western minds. Satan has all but convinced us in America that there is no spiritual realm. We are taught that there is no such thing as God, angels, or demons. Our culture says the Bible is a collection of fictitious myths. Of course, Satan is fine with that. Any lie will do.

As long as he can drag us away from God and the truth, that’s all that matters in his eyes.

He just wants to hurt God and hurt people as much as he can before he is eternally punished.

In reality, the Bible is our source of absolute truth. God’s truth sets us free!

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

1 Pet. 5:7-10

Choices Matter

Our life choices have powerful spiritual (and even eternal) consequences. There are only two spiritual authorities, ultimately, that can be in control of our lives:

  • We can invite the Holy Spirit’s authority to have control in our lives.
  • We can go our own way, (which is also Satan’s way). This automatically invites demonic authority into our lives to one degree or another.

We simply can’t afford to play and flirt with the enemy. All the doors of our lives must be fully shut to Satan’s influence and completely open to God’s influence.

Demonic influences only leave when a stronger authority takes over. When the power of Christ Jesus stakes a claim over a person’s life, the demons have no choice but to flee.

This is a spiritual problem that requires a two part spiritual solution.

  1. Get rid of the spiritual poison.
  2. Pour God and His Truth and love in.
Photo by Nashad Abdu on Unsplash

Demonic Possession

Demonic Possession happens to unbelievers. It involves a demon(s) taking control of a person’s mind, motives, and life. According to the Bible, this can manifest as:

  • Sickness and medical issues (Mark 9:14-19).
  • Personality changes, violence, self-harm, strange behavior, and/or superhuman strength (Matthew 8:28).
  • Special knowledge of the future that is not from God (Acts 16:16-18).
  • Depression, and all kinds of evil and violence, including murder (King Saul actually went completely crazy due to an evil spirit that tormented him and tried to kill David many times. Judas was influenced by Satan to betray Jesus, and later realized the magnitude and consequences of what he had done and killed himself.).
  • And other things, as well.

Note – all mental and physical illnesses are not due to demonic possession or oppression. There can certainly be other causes.

But Satan and his demons do have a lot of power in this world. He is the prince of the power of the air. He is able and willing to cause all kinds of suffering— his ultimate goal being to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Sometimes he does this through other means, but demonic activity and influence is one of the tools in his arsenal.

Believers in Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them and are sealed by Him. Disciples of Christ, to my knowledge and understanding, can’t be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit possesses us.

But we can grieve the Holy Spirit by choosing to cherish sin in our lives (Eph. 4:30). We can choose to rebel against God, although this should make us sick and we should want to repent immediately and return to our Lord.

We have the ability to break fellowship with God and roll out the red carpet to the enemy, carelessly inviting him into our lives.

Once he gains access to our thought lives, he does whatever he can to try to destroy us and to try to destroy others through us.

Demonic Oppression

Demonic Oppression can happen to believers or unbelievers. A person is influenced by demons in their thoughts. The person does not take her thoughts captive for Christ and allows the demonic lies to fester. This can result in various things like:

  • Depression, despair, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and hopelessness.
  • Intense fear.
  • A feeling of evil, darkness, or doom.
  • Seeing, feeling, or hearing demons or dark figures—in dreams, or even when awake.
  • Physical illness, at times.
  • No appetite for God or His Word.
  • Self-destruction and abuse (cutting, self-harm, suicide, anorexia/bulimia, addictions).
  • Hatred toward others, God, the Word of God, or self.
  • Rage/malice/violence/abuse toward others.
  • Intense desire for sexual perversion, porn, and/or immorality.

Of course, demonic possession or oppression are not the only things that can cause some of the above issues.

All illness and suffering is related to sin being in the world, in general.

We live in a fallen, cursed world—so bad things happen.

  • Sometimes suffering or illness is a direct consequence of my sin or another person’s sin (ie: STDs due to sexual immorality, or the suffering of someone who was hit by a drunk driver). Demons can be involved in tempting us to sin, but they can’t force us to sin. The choice is ours.
  • Sometimes illness and trials are related directly to demonic activity (attack, oppression, or possession). Demonic attack is where demons try to hurt us in some way, but we are not oppressed or possessed—ie: Job.
  • Sometimes trials are spiritual testing.
  • Sometimes trials happen due to persecution for our faith in Christ.
  • Other times, these things are just part of living in this world. There can be medical, genetic, and other environmental causes for physical and mental illnesses.

We need God’s Spirit, His Word, and His wisdom to rightly discern what is happening in each specific situation. I may not always be able to identify the root cause of every illness or suffering.

But I can invite God to show me if there is sin in my life I need to repent from and ask what He wants me to learn in the midst of my suffering. I can close any open doors to the enemy in my life. I can invite Him to use any suffering in my life for His glory and my ultimate good to conform me to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).

Open Doors

THINGS THAT MAY OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE

  • The occult – horoscopes, Ouija boards, séances, going to a fortune teller/medium, casting spells, witchcraft, Voodoo, Satanism, paganism, idols, etc… (These things are exploding in popularity in our culture today, unfortunately.)
  • Idolatry – when we worship, serve, trust in, and desire things/people more than we long for God, we are really worshipping demons and receiving their teachings (Deut. 32:16-17).
  • Certain addictive, mind-altering drugs – meth, crack, narcotics, LSD, alcohol, etc…
  • Playing with temptation.
  • Fascination with demons.
  • Obsession with serial killers and mass murderers.
  • Music/media that glorifies evil, killing, abortion, horror, immorality, and sin.
  • Isolating ourselves from other believers.
  • Neglecting time with God, prayer, and scripture reading—starving ourselves of good spiritual food in Christ.
  • Listening to false teaching, lies, or ungodly messages.
  • Fellowshipping with those who are involved in demonic activity.
  • Holding onto sin in our hearts rather than confessing it and turning from it immediately—ie: Scripture teaches us that holding onto anger overnight is a way to give the enemy a stronghold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27).

Demons are a lot like cockroaches. They are attracted to the stench of sin, wrong thinking, lies, and any kind of evil.

Addictions and unrepentant sin in our lives create an atmosphere where demons feel welcome. They may not have originally caused the mess, but they may be happy to jump in later to try to keep us in spiritual bondage.

THINGS THAT OPEN THE DOOR TO GOD’S DELIVERANCE

  • Repenting from all known sin, turning away from sin to Jesus.
  • Yielding my life to Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life from this moment on for the rest of my life.
  • Inviting the Holy Spirit to fill me daily.
  • Speaking the truth of God’s love and salvation from the Bible out loud.
  • Singing praise songs to Jesus.
  • Thinking about good things and gratitude toward God. (Phil. 4:8)
  • Resisting Satan coupled with total submission to the Lordship of Christ (James 4:7).
  • Praying for Jesus to bring deliverance to us.
  • Other believers praying for deliverance for a person (it’s best to have at least one Christian who is experienced with this if there is possession or severe oppression going on).
  • Getting rid of any lies and replacing them and rebuilding our lives on God’s truth
  • Putting on the spiritual armor and truth of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-18)

Freedom in Christ

The key is to turn away from the darkness and focus on the Light – Jesus, His glory, His holiness, His truth, His Word, His promises, and His goodness. We praise and thank Him and receive His work on our behalf and His Spirit, He can set us free from sin and demonic oppression/possession.

When the brilliance of the Light and Truth of Christ shines freely in the darkest corners of my life, the cockroaches go scurrying away.

They can’t stand the Light and a soul that has been cleansed of filth. They detest being around gratitude and praise for God. And they hate hearing God’s Word and truth.

When I resist Satan and yield myself to the authority of Jesus, He sets me free.

I don’t have authority over demons or Satan myself apart from the authority of Jesus. I don’t need to talk to them or engage in any interaction. People are much weaker than demons.

Jesus is the one who has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Demons are required to obey Him. In fact, they tremble before Him. I just need to yield myself to Jesus and declare His Word and His authority over my life in faith.

Note – Every bad thing that happens is not spiritual warfare. Some things are. But not all.

The steps of repentance and submission to Christ are the same for spiritual oppression or for repenting from just plain old sin. Sometimes with severe oppression or possession, we may need experienced believers to pray with us and for us.

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

Please show us any open doors in our lives today. Help us see if we have invited the enemy in for tea and cookies and that could be why our lives are being ravaged by turmoil. Help us to identify every door the enemy uses to gain access in our lives and shut it tight and lock it.

We purposely and joyfully choose to turn away from every sin, every lie, and every demonic influence that we have allowed in our lives. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship. You are the Prince of Peace. You are the King of kings. We enthrone You, alone, on our hearts as being in control of our lives.

We open every door wide to You. We hold nothing back from You, Jesus. We give you full control.

We declare the authority and victory of Jesus Christ over our lives, marriages, husbands, children, families, and homes. No other authority is welcome any longer.

Amen!

RESOURCES:

What Is Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

Why Does God Allow Sickness? by www.gotquestions.org

Freedom from Demon Bondage – CBN

Questions about Angels and Demons by www.gotquestions.org

Ambushing Satan with Song – John Piper about praying for a woman to be delivered from a demon

A friend’s story of demon possession and healing:

Radiant’s story of spiritual oppression due to believing demonic lies that resulted in severe illness, to the point of being almost an invalid.

Radiant’s story of the spiritual healing that is available to each of us in Jesus.

My Demon – about demonic oppression and flirting with the enemy

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life – Satan’s strategies for your marriage and thought life

If you or someone you love may be suffering from demonic possession or oppression, there are some churches that have prayer teams who can pray for you. Of course, you can pray for yourself or for your friend or loved one. But if you need reinforcements, seek a Bible-believing church with an experienced prayer team.

What If You Want Your Husband to Cut Ties with Someone?

man standing on top of mountain

This is a joint post written by Nneka Simone (her words are in blue), April, and some anonymous wives’ examples. I appreciate the input, ladies!

We talked in my last post about 6 times when we may need to prayerfully consider breaking (or minimizing) contact with others. One of those scenarios is if our husband feels it would be best for us not to have contact with someone (please see the caveats in the post for times not to cooperate with this).

Of course, breaking contact completely is a pretty extreme response and should be reserved for certain situations as a last resort. It shouldn’t be our go-to response for most issues as it can cause a lot of unnecessary damage if we use it when it is not needed.

But what if it the scenario is reversed?

If you believe that a situation is harmful to your husband, the marriage, yourself, your children, or your family, you do have the ability (and sometimes the responsibility) to share your concerns with your husband.

Husbands have God-given positional authority and wives have God-given influential authority.

We do have an incredible ability as wives to influence our husbands for good or for evil.

It’s a good thing for us to share our hearts and minds with our husbands in healthy ways. Ideally, a wife would be a trusted advisor to her husband.

Even our children can and should share concerns if they don’t feel safe or comfortable around someone, or they don’t feel comfortable with us being around a certain person.

Everyone deserves to have a voice to say if something is upsetting or toxic to them or to someone they love.

This doesn’t necessarily mean things will definitely change. But people in positions of God-given leadership should be very willing to hear the concerns of those in their care whether it is at home, at work, at church, at school, or anywhere else. And if the concern is legitimate, the leader will agree to take some appropriate course of action.

The key is that we share respectfully and with right motives.

Nneka’s Take

Nneka Simone

It would be very tempting to react in the flesh and try to force your husband to cut people off by acting in the following ways:

Cry, beg and plead with your husband to cut them off.

Make angry and insistent demands that he cuts off the relationship.

Give your husband an ultimatum.

Lecture your husband about his choices and how they affect you and your children.

Complain about your husband’s friends to anyone who would listen.

Criticize your husband’s friends behind their backs.

Insult your husband’s friends to their faces.

Go directly to his friends and tell them to stay away from him.

Rant about your husband’s poor decisions on social media.

Go directly to your husband’s relatives or your pastor to complain about your husband’s choices.

Try to force your husband to be friends with men you think he should be friends with.

If we resort to these destructive tactics, we would repel our husbands. Our husbands would likely feel protective of their friends and defensive about their decisions. Our husbands would likely react in destructive ways and may even eventually form closer bonds with the friends we disapprove of.  

I can’t force my way, but I can make requests and suggestions.

If my husband knows that I love and respect him highly, and he also has great love and respect for me, he will likely care about my feelings and concerns. He will prayerfully weigh my words, if he is a believer.

Even if he is not a believer, if we have some level of mutual love and respect going on, he will probably be concerned if something is causing an alarm bell for me.

All I have to do is present my concern briefly and calmly. Usually just once. Then I can generally simply wait and pray.

However, there are many different possible scenarios. This approach may not be exactly what you need in every situation.

We need the wisdom, power, and discernment of the Spirit to know exactly how to approach our husband, especially if things are not going well, at the time.

There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent and pray. The only way to really know the difference is that we must be in close fellowship with the Lord.

NOTE – If it is a really dangerous situation, there are times we have a responsibility to call the police or reach out for help. This post is not intended to be a resource for life-threatening situations. Please involve all of the proper authorities immediately if you believe someone is truly in danger or being threatened. I am also assuming in this post that your husband is in his right mind. That he is not high, drunk, dealing with significant uncontrolled mental illness, or involved in serious unrepentant sin.

A Time to Speak

If you believe it is a time to speak up, some options may be to prayerfully consider saying things like:

  • I have a bad feeling about this person.
  • My “Spidey senses” are tingling about her. She seems like trouble to me.
  • I would like it if we both have X, Y, Z boundaries on our marriage to guard our hearts and help us avoid temptation. What boundaries do you believe we should have to protect our marriage?
  • May I have your permission to speak into your life? (If he says, “yes,” then I can gently share what I see that I believe the Lord desires me to share.)
  • I feel like that friend is disrespectful of our marriage/you/me/the kids.
  • I love that you are such a great friend to X. Sometimes, though, I would really love it if we could have more time with you.
  • I’m afraid you may be getting taken advantage of here and that makes me feel sad.
  • This situation makes me nervous.
  • It seems to me that this person undermines our authority as parents to our children. That’s not okay.
  • I feel like this person is trying to hurt our marriage/family/you/me.
  • I really don’t want us to be around him again unless he is willing to apologize for what he did and make some real changes.
  • I don’t feel safe around her because of X. I don’t want our kids to be near her.
  • These days, a man really can’t afford to be alone with a woman, even if he does nothing wrong. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I think Billy Graham’s standard was very wise for men and for women.
  • I don’t like this situation at all.
  • What this person is teaching doesn’t seem to align with scripture. What do you think?
  • I don’t trust this person.

**Remember to use a friendly tone of voice and body language!

Most of the time, simply, respectfully sharing your concern like this is enough.

He will get the picture and he’ll mull over what he wants to do with this new information. Even if he doesn’t talk about his thoughts, he will think about it. I promise!

Nneka’s Take

Constructive ways to handle this:

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Rom. 14:13

A godly path to deal with such a situation would be to do the following:

1. Take your concerns to God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7

Ask God to remove unhealthy influences from your husband’s life and fully trust that He will find a way to do it. Don’t give in to despair. Understand that God is in control. Keep giving thanks to God for his sovereignty. Let God’s peace rule in your heart.

2. Speak the truth in love.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Eph. 4:15

Gently and lovingly express your concern about your husband’s associates to him, without insisting that he cuts off ties with them. 

3. Pray for your husband’s associates. 

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28

Your focus should always be on the state of your husband’s soul and his associates’ souls. 

If your concern is about a friend who is a heavy drinker, drug addict, adulterer, or caught in significant sin, pray for that person to see the light and change his ways or to simply cut off ties with your husband.

Pray that God will open your husband’s eyes to that person’s influence on him. Even after that person stops contacting your husband, continue to pray for his salvation.

If your concern is about a woman who is trying to tempt your husband into an affair, it’s only natural that you may feel really hurt, angry and threatened by her intentions to ruin your marriage. However, God wants us to pray for those who hurt us and treat us badly.

We can pray for salvation, for their eyes to be opened, for conviction of sin and godly sorrow and true repentance. We can pray for spiritual healing and regeneration in Christ. We can pray the power of Scripture over the people who are toxic and over our husbands, children, and ourselves.

4. Focus on your husband’s good qualities

Think about his strengths and the many wise and loving decisions your husband has made. You would not have married your husband if you didn’t see a lot of good in him. Rather than focusing on his few poor choices, focus on all the things that made you fall in love with him. It would be wise to start making a list of his good qualities and good choices to add to it daily. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8

What if he still doesn’t break contact with the other person?

If you have shared your feelings about a situation respectfully, and he continues on in contact with someone you feel is too toxic, there are several things that could be going on:

  • He may have a different perspective.
  • He may try to minimize contact, but he may feel he can’t completely break contact, depending on the situation.
  • He may feel the person is not as toxic as you believe he/she is.
  • He may believe that to completely break contact would create a lot of unnecessary drama and he may think there is a better solution.
  • He may have different personal convictions – not that one of you is wrong – you may just have different definitions of how exactly to guard your heart or marriage.
  • The Lord may be leading him in a different direction that you don’t know about yet.
  • It may take some time for him to decide how to address the situation. Sometimes, you may just need to be patient, depending on the issue at hand.
  • He may decide to confront the person directly rather than just break contact. He may feel it is a Matthew 18:15-17 situation.
  • He may know something you don’t know that changes what the best approach might be.
  • It may take him a bit more time to see the danger you see.
  • It is possible that he has a more accurate view of what is happening than you do. All of us can be wrong at times.
  • Sometimes, husbands mess up, too. Sometimes they make poor choices or even sinful choices. They have free will, just like we do. It is a gift, but it can bring a lot of pain. You can’t control him, but you can decide how the Lord desires you to respond even if he doesn’t make the best decisions. There are times we need to confront sin.
  • Or, this may simply be an issue for you to take to the Lord in prayer.

Depending on the situation and on the Lord’s leading, there may be a time to address the issue again, eventually. Or God may direct you to simply pray and wait and let Him work. God can change a husband’s heart, our perspective, or He may even change the circumstances and other people.

My next post covers the issue of a husband who doesn’t seem to care what his wife says, feels, or thinks. That situation is going to require some adjustments in our approach depending on the root causes.

NOTE – If you realize that you expect your husband to break all ties with all of his family members, all of his friends, all of his coworkers, everyone at church, and everyone in every area of his life, then we are dealing with an entirely different issue. Please check out these posts.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES

The Las Vegas Story

One of my favorite stories is from a reader of mine whose unbelieving husband wanted to go to Las Vegas with his single friend. The wife respectfully let her husband know she didn’t think the trip was a good idea. He went on with his plans. She and I prayed. The Lord intervened in a mind-blowing way. It was amazing!

The wife whose husband’s friends drank:

My husband has had friends who drank heavily and my husband started drinking heavily as well. Even driving drunk and getting into minor accidents. Me getting angry, crying, and complaining about his drinking and his irresponsible friends didn’t help matters at all.

I started praying that God would remove these people from my husband’s life and each time, God did!

One day each of those friends inexplicably stopped calling my husband. I was extremely relieved and happily told my husband “Jesus took care of it!” 

My husband no longer drinks heavily and I always joke with him that if he ever makes friends who drink heavily again, I’ll just pray them away.

My husband now has great respect for my prayers for him. When I ask him what he wants me to pray for, he always says “I know that you always want the best for me so pray for me however you want”. 

The wife whose husband’s friend was using him:

My husband has also had friends who consumed his time and constantly bombarded him with requests for favors and loans. I told him several times “A friend who always wants something from you is not a true friend. He’s just using you.” My husband never took my advice and would keep defending his friends and insisting that they care about him.

I gave up and stopped talking about it. I just took the issue to God.

Shortly after, my husband realized that he was being used and distanced himself from them. That “friend” actually moved out of the country without saying goodbye and made no effort to keep in touch. I was very relieved because I hate to see my husband being used by anyone. 

We have tremendous power in praying for our husbands once we approach the issue from a place of prayer and trust in God’s power over all situations.

Examples with No Immediate Happy Ending

Examples where things didn’t go the way the believer in Christ hoped, at least at first, but God was still very much at work:

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If you would like to share some godly wisdom you have learned in ways that will honor the Lord and your husband and anyone else who was involved, we’d love to hear about it. (Let’s not share specific details of wrongs others committed, though, please. Thanks!)

Prayer for Us to Stand in the Authority of Christ – by Radiant

A guest post by Radiant.
From the Peaceful Wife
These petitions are primarily based on Scripture and the promises of God to those who follow Jesus. The prayers themselves are not magical. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are powerful! When we pray the promises and truth of God back to Him in faith, we are praying according to His will and we open the floodgates of heaven. This is how He allows us to take part in birthing His will into our lives, our families, and this world.
From Radiant
If you see a few verses or thoughts that stand out to you, you could print just those on a card to remind yourself to pray throughout the day and this week.

Praying in the Authority of Jesus Christ

You Are Our Encouragement

  • Thank you, Jesus, that You are the lifter of our heads.
  • Thank You that You have plans to give us a hope and a future for us our families.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out an anointing of wisdom and love over our families in this new season.
You Are Our Healer and Comforter
For our families and ourselves, we confess, repent of, bind and send to the Cross all division, strife, hurt, self-effort, pride, offense, fear of man, fear of failure, critical spirits, judging, wounds, slavery, torment, perfectionism, religion, negativity, complaining, unbelief, hindrance, futile ways handed down by our fathers, forms of godliness without Your power, worldly wisdom and control.
  • Thank You that You are teaching us to live by faith, and not put ourselves under the law and a curse.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out Your healing, love and Spirit on each wound that each of us has spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
  • Thank You that You are binding us together in love by Your Spirit.

You Are for Us

  • Thank You that You have called each person in our families by name and they are Yours.
  • Thank You that He who started a good work in each of us will be faithful to complete it.
  • Thank You that You alone are Intercessor, the Author and perfecter of each of our faith. We give our own hearts and each family member’s hearts, destiny, past and future to You.
  • Thank You that Your design for marriage is to reflect Christ and the Bride. We declare that anointing over our kids, their future spouses and our marriages.
  • Thank You that if You are for us, who can be against us? There is no condemnation now for those of us who are in Christ Jesus!
You Are Our Freedom
  • Thank You that Your definition of freedom is freedom from sin and the freedom to walk in holiness and obedience to You!
  • Thank You that it is for freedom You set us and our families free. And if the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed.
  • Thank You that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

You Are Changing Us

  • Thank You that You are changing the desires and delights of our hearts so that we delight in You, our Bridegroom.
  • Thank You that we have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer the old us who live, but the new us. We are now one with Christ, full of the Spirit, covered by His blood and made totally new with Your resurrection power!
You Are Our Rest
  • Thank You that You are making crooked things straight, strengthening the things that are lame.
  • Thank You that a bruised reed You will not break, and a smoldering wick You will not put out. You bear with us in our weakness.
  • Thank You that all of us who are heavy laden and weary are coming to You and You gladly give us Your supernatural rest.
  • Thank You that we cast our cares on You because You care for us. We remove all yokes that are not of You from us and our families in Jesus’ Name – and we take on Your light yoke, Your joy and Your presence for each of us.
You Are Our Peace
  • Thank You that You are our peace. You have made us and our families one, and have broken down the dividing wall of separation.
  • Thank You that You will reign as the Prince of Peace in our hearts and our families’ hearts today.
  • Thank You that no scheme of hell or man can ever separate us from Your love or pluck us from Your hand.
  • Thank You that You are giving us wisdom from heaven which is first of all peaceable.
  • Thank You that You, Yourself, promise to be our Teacher and the Teacher of our kids, and great will be our peace.
  • Thank You that we are each setting our minds on the things of the Spirit – which is life and peace – instead of our old way of setting our minds on worldly things that lead to death.
You Are Calling Us
  • Thank You that the Spirit of the Lord is on You (and now on us), because the Lord has anointed You (and Your Bride –  even me) to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open prison doors to those who are bound, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
  • Thank You that even though the enemy has been stealing, killing and destroying many things in our lives, You came that we might have life and have it abundantly. You restore the ruins, You give restitution for what the locusts have eaten.
  • Thank You that those who look to You lack no good thing in light of eternity. Our faces are radiant.
You Are God with Us
  • Thank You that You are flooding our hearts with You, to treasure You and be full of love and grace.
  • Thank You that we will not bite and devour each other, but bless each other.
  • Thank You that You are helping us live lives that will be good places for Your Spirit to dwell and bring good fruit and fruit of the Spirit rather than barrenness or thorns.
  • Thank You that You are pouring out Your Spirit on all flesh — on us and our descendants.
  • Thank You that Your Word and Your Spirit teach us all things.
  • Thank You that You are giving us a beautiful crown instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.
  • Thank You that we will all be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
  • Thank You that You are working the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman into me and my daughter as Your Bride.
You Are Our Victorious Warrior in Spiritual Battle
  • Thank You Jesus that what the enemy means for evil, You use for good.
  • Thank You that we will build up ancient ruins, raise up former devastations, repair ruined cities and the devastations of many generations.
  • Thank You that You have given us every spiritual blessing, supply, weapon and tool we need in Christ for this spiritual battle we are in. And Your Name is Victory!!
  • You already defeated the enemy. Now we declare Your victory over us and our families and homes.
We praise You Jesus for what You are doing and all that has shifted in the spiritual realm as we declare Your promises over us.
We give it all to You and ask for Your help for us to yield, be pliable and surrender our wills to Yours.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus and according to His perfect will,
Amen!

Pray with Me for America

Lord,
The darkness grows thicker by the day in our nation. So many literally believe that evil is good and good is evil today. We have almost everything as backwards as it could possibly be. And yet, we foolishly think we are so very wise.
 
Has any generation in the history of the world been more confused, more deceived, or more delusional than ours – on just about every foundational moral issue? We are witnessing Romans 1:18-32 coming to fruition in our day. It is the Great Apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3). Time is very short before the rapture.
 
You have generously given us so much time to repent of our sins. Yet, we, as a nation, continue to proudly throw ourselves deeper into bloodshed, apostasy, immorality, violence, abuse, lies, stealing, mockery of You and Your Word, and every manner of evil.
 
We are destroying ourselves. We are bringing judgment on ourselves. We are rejecting all that is good and embracing all that will kill us. How vehemently we defend and protect our evil. How we spit in Your face and reject Your truth, racing to run off of the edge of the cliff into utter destruction.
 
You are good, kind, merciful, and loving. You have blessed America richly in the past. More than any other nation! For this, we are so thankful. But, in Your holiness and righteousness, You also must judge nations and individuals for their sin. 
 
You cannot ignore 50 million plus babies being murdered by their own mothers and by doctors. The weight of our sin against unborn babies was already unfathomable. And now there is a new law in NY that will bring about even more innocent babies’ needless deaths. We are purposely killing babies who are completely viable outside of the womb!?! And our leaders celebrate and cheer!?!
Lord, we weep over these murders and senseless deaths. There is nothing more appalling than killing our own children for the sake of our convenience.
 
You cannot ignore all of the sexual immorality, idolatry (of self, happiness, greed, lies, convenience, and so many other vain things), hatred, addictions, and countless acts of rebellion against You. Our sins are so great, I don’t even have space to list them all here.
 
The problems of America are spiritual. We are being completely consumed by the cancer of sin. Only repentance can heal us.
 
America’s sins are becoming a “ripe basket of fruit” just like Israel in the days of Amos. How much longer before we reach the point of no return? If You did not spare Your beloved people, Israel, when they sinned terribly, You will not spare America, either.
Surely Your judgment is coming swiftly. I tremble to think what awaits us if we continue down this terrible road. 
 
I know You don’t want to see us destroyed. I know You are calling us all to turn back to You and to live!
 
“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” Ezekiel 18:23
 
Have mercy on us, Lord! Let us repent quickly! Let us – individually, as the church, and as a nation – set aside our incredible arrogance and kneel in humility before You, acknowledging You alone are God and we are not. Perhaps it is not yet too late? 
 
Let us obey and honor Your Word. Let us receive and share the Gospel of Jesus boldly that everyone might hear and have a chance to experience Your great salvation and goodness. Let us celebrate life and protect the innocent. Let our children live in safety and Your blessing. Let us hate evil and love what You say is good.
Show us our part, as believers in Christ. What do You desire each of us to do to stand for Your truth and to protect and save innocent lives? What do You desire us to do to change the course of our nation and culture? Empower Your people to rise and stand firmly for truth and to lead many to Your kingdom. We are at war, Lord. This is spiritual war and the carnage is staggering. Where can we go from here but either to the rapture, a Great Awakening, or judgment?
Let us, as Your people, cry out to You on our faces for Your intervention!
 
Amen.
 
AMOS 8:1-2
This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.
 
“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.
 
Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”
RELATED
What Is Lordship Salvation by www.gotquestions.org
What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

How Wrong Praying Destroyed My Faith in God – By Nikki

Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

Today’s post is a guest post by a precious sister in Christ, Nikki. She is from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I’m so thankful for her willingness to share a bit of her story. I believe it may be a blessing to many other women:

I’m sharing with you an account of how I completely lost my faith in God by praying for my family. I was facing some severe family problems and began to pray in earnest.

Old Approach to Prayer

Below is list of the advice I followed during that period of my life:

  • I sprinkled my entire house and all of my possessions with holy water and blessed salt.
  • I said dozens of novenas (Note: a novena is a Catholic tradition of saying a prayer every day for 9 days). I bought a book of novena prayers and each one said at the bottom “This is a very powerful novena that has never been known to fail.” I said novena after novena expecting and hoping for some change and things only got worse and worse.
  • I was told to buy a particular type of cross and get it blessed by a particular monk and place it over the front door of my home.
  • I went to church more than once a week, expecting that God would be obligated to obey me because of that.

Bad Advice

Everyone I went to for advice suggested a different prayer or ritual. No one advised me to check my own heart and clear it of any pride, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness or idols. The more I prayed and performed these gimmicks, the worse things in my family got and I ended up completely heartbroken, bitter and angry at God. I hated God and wanted nothing to do with him for almost 10 years…until I had a stranger approach me on a beach and led me to pray and give my life to Christ.

When I started to rebuild my relationship with Christ, I prayed for my family very hesitantly and with a lot of fear. I was terrified of getting my heart broken again. I wanted more than anything to preserve my relationship with God first and foremost, regardless of how other aspects of my life were going.

Losing your faith in God through following gimmicks is not isolated among Catholics. I know many Protestants who lost their faith in God through gimmicks like sending “seed money” to particular TV-evangelists or pastor, by “naming and claiming” things that they want, or by writing down a list of the things that they want and putting it in the centre of their Bibles.

Red Flags for Prayer

Because of my horrific experience, I would like you all to be aware of these red flags that you may be praying in the wrong way:

  • Do you want your prayer request more than you want God? If you do, that is idolatry. Your idols will always destroy you spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically. So please work daily to identify any idols in your heart and tear them down. Don’t even allow your husband or children to be on the throne of your heart. Set Jesus alone on the throne of your heart.
  • Do you trust the words of the prayer itself or the rituals you are participating in more than you trust God? No prayer is powerful and fail-proof. Only God is powerful. No prayer should be trusted. Only God deserves your trust. Keep that in mind when you are praying. (From Peaceful Wife, we pray to have communication with the Lord and to present our needs and requests before Him. Prayers should not be looked upon as “spells.”)
  • Are you hanging on to any anger, unforgiveness, revenge or hatred? God is more concerned with the condition of your heart than whatever prayer you are saying. He will not answer our prayers if we are harbouring sinful anger and hatred in our hearts. (Ps. 66:18)
  • Are you ignoring your God-given role? Husbands are advised to fulfil their role to love their wives so that nothing will hinder their prayers (1 Peter 3:7). Similarly, children should fulfill their role to honour their parents and married women should fulfill their role to respect their husbands so that nothing can hinder their prayers.
  • Are you attempting to manipulate or force God to do what you are asking Him to do? God is not a genie in a bottle who submits to us. We are meant to submit to Him. If we treat God like some sort of cosmic Genie and think that if we do/say the “right words,” He will be forced to obey us and give us what we want, we are praying with very sinful motives.
  • Are you praying for others in an attempt to control them or force them to change their ways to suit you? God does not allow us to have ultimate control and authority over anyone. Only He is sovereign. (From Peaceful Wife – even He doesn’t force people to obey Him, but gives people free will.)

Green Flags for Prayer

I have learned a lot about prayer and God over the past few years and I would like to share with you some green flags that prove that you are praying in the right way:

If we pray in this way, we will be standing on the Solid Rock and we will have hope and joy even in the midst of great trials, whether God gives us what we want or not.

Trusting God in Trials

Right now, I am facing trials of many kinds, but rather than sinking into a pit of despair, hopelessness, and heartache, I am at peace and growing in my faith because I know that God loves me and is in charge of everything.

I actually focus 95% of my time with God on reading the Bible and discovering the truth and beauty of God’s Word and only about 5% of my time praying for specific outcomes for myself, my marriage and my family. My primary focus is on loving Jesus and building my relationship with Him, and not on my circumstances.

Habukkuk 3:17–19 sums up what our attitude should be:

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

 

I’m sure that Habukkuk would have wanted the fig trees to bud, the fields to produce ample food, and many strong, healthy animals in his land. He didn’t have any of those things, but his love for God lifted his spirits, gave him strength, and filled him with joy.

Praying with Humility:

And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.” Luke 7:6-7

I hope that you can all learn from my story of misplaced hope and my discovery of what prayer is really about. I really would love all of us to have great relationships with Christ and rejoice together in heaven, which will be the ultimate prayer-fest!

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Can you relate to Nikki’s story? What were some approaches you have used with prayer in the past that were unhealthy? What wisdom has God given you about prayer as you have grown in your faith in Christ?

Note – We will use the comments on this post to discuss praying to God rather than debating various theological differences between Christian denominations. Christ prayed in John 17:21 that all Christians will be one and that is what this blog strives to foster. Thanks for understanding!

RELATED
Posts about idolatry

Posts about prayer

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

 

Do I Have a Spirit of Offense?

Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

Something our culture today is really great at is – offense. It is almost mind-blowing just how easily offended people are today. And it is sad. Because when we are so easily offended, we also have a lack of unity, relationship, emotional connection, harmony, and teamwork. We also miss out on most of the fun, joy, and blessings in life.

THE TRUTH IS

  • Criticizing other people is super easy.
  • Looking at myself and my own faults and taking responsibility for changing myself is HARD.

It is human nature to go around blaming others and pointing our fingers at other people in disgust while we believe we are wonderful, good, and virtuous. It takes incredible spiritual maturity to be willing to honestly look at ourselves and our issues. But God calls us to take responsibility for our own lives first. He calls us to remove the “beam” from our own eye so that we can see clearly enough to remove the “speck” from someone else’s eye (Matt. 7:1-5).

How can I tell if I have a “spirit of offense”?

  1. Am I more concerned about being “right” about everything than anything/anyone else?
  2. Do I tend to focus on other people’s faults?
  3. Do I feel it is my job to correct people’s mistakes in many areas of life?
  4. Do my words tend to be laced with negativity and criticism about situations and people?
  5. Do I “vent” often to others about things other people did to upset me?
  6. Do I tend to have a short fuse and/or raise my voice easily?
  7. Do I believe that it is unacceptable for people to disagree with me?
  8. Do I feel it is my duty and responsibility to make people change their minds to match my opinions, my convictions, and my beliefs – by verbal force – if necessary?
  9. Do I verbally attack, insult, or try to humiliate people who think or act differently than I want them to?
  10. Do I think I truly know best and everyone else would be a lot better off if only they listened to my great wisdom?
  11. Do I have a hard time forgiving even the smallest slights from others?
  12. Do I tend to hold onto grudges, resentment, and bitterness?
  13. Do I tend to have very rigid expectations and be unable to bend or be flexible in relationships?
  14. Do I tend to be a perfectionist and get upset if things are not exactly the way I think they should be?
  15. Do I go on an all-out verbal assault on anyone who dares to question or criticize me – assassinating the person’s character and acting like a prosecuting attorney in a criminal trial?
  16. Do I have difficulty finding sin in my own life and tend to assume I am a “very good person” with few sins in my own life and have no trouble at all finding a lot of sin and wrongdoing in other people’s lives?
  17. Do I tend to assume the worst possible motives of others?
  18. Do I have to have the last word in an argument?
  19. Do I think of myself as morally superior to other people?
  20. Do I tend to burn a lot of bridges in my relationships and cut people out of my life even if they apologize and try to change?
  21. Am I much more concerned with voicing my opinion and telling people my thoughts than understanding what other people think or understanding their perspectives?
  22. Do I tend to find negative things to say about the pastor’s sermon, my boss, my parents, my in-laws, the way my husband helped me with the kids, the way my son took out the trash, etc…?
  23. Do I always feel it is my responsibility to confront people on anything they say about which I don’t agree, no matter how small the issue may be?
  24. Do I feel everyone around me owes me an answer for their thoughts, words, decisions, and deeds? Like it is my right to question them?
  25. Do I give the “cold shoulder” treatment to people often?
  26. Am I quick to share (gossip) all about the terrible things other people have done to me – to my husband, my family, my coworkers, and others?
  27. Do I tend to verbally abuse other people who don’t agree with me, insulting them and cutting them down?
  28. Do I let my emotions have free reign and let my anger have its way when someone ticks me off and not restrain my words if I feel even slightly offended?
  29. Do I genuinely wish harm on people who don’t do what I want or who disagree with me?
  30. Do I freak out if people even talk about their religious or political beliefs if they don’t match mine? Like I really don’t think anyone else should get to have free will but me?

If I answer, “yes,” to several, or maybe (*gulp*), ALL of these questions – it’s time to consider that I may have a significant issue with a spirit of offense.

I, personally, had this sin festering uncontrollably in my life for many years. It truly was a painful way for me to live, and it was painful for those around me, too. The fruit of my life was: bitterness, resentment, worry, fear, control, anxiety, depression, frustration, loneliness, lack of emotional intimacy with others, and broken relationships.

Greg actually said to me one time, many years ago, “You LIKE to be miserable. You want to be miserable. You don’t want to be happy.”

I started to argue with him, of course.

But then, I actually stopped and thought about it. I realized that I was pretty negative and I was rather miserable. I don’t think I actually enjoyed misery. But that sure is where I camped out for many years. I didn’t know how to fix it. But maybe, for once back then, I had to acknowledge that Greg was actually right!

(Now I know he has quite a lot of wisdom to share, if I am willing to listen and receive humbly. He can sometimes see my blindspots and help point me toward a better life.)

God’s Word says pride is one of the most deadly sins.

The root of a spirit of offense is – PRIDE. Big time pride.

Pride was the sin of Satan. He wanted to exalt himself to be equal with God and wanted others to worship and follow him instead of God. His temptation to Eve was that if she ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, she would “be like God.”

Satan appeals to our pride still, today. His tactics haven’t changed a lick. Satan loves for us to take offense and to think highly of ourselves. He loves to help create division, tension, offense, hatred, bitterness, contention, arguments, jealousy, and resentment. When we participate in these things, we give him authority in our lives to destroy us and to use our lives to help destroy others.

What does God say about pride?

  • There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Prov. 6:16-19
  • The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Prov. 8:13
  • Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18
  • One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. Prov. 29:23
  • “Knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 1 Cor. 8:1

The Cure for Pride is Humility.

I must continually humble myself before God and acknowledge that HE is God. I am not. I stop exalting myself above God in my heart and mind. I turn from my pride and embrace that God alone is good and righteous. I am not. I need Jesus and His blood. I have no goodness on my own apart from what Jesus did for me on the cross.

I get off of the throne of my life. I stop demanding that other people look up to me and exalt me. I stop demanding to be exalted by others.

I set God, alone, firmly on the throne of my life. I acknowledge that He, alone, has all wisdom and it is infinitely higher than any human wisdom, including mine. I stop being an enemy of God and I bow my heart and knee to His Lordship in every area of my life.

  • “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 1 Pet. 5:6

I love the quotes from Andrew Murray in his book, “Humility“:

  • Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.
  • Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.”
  • Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.

The Bible Has Great Wisdom for Us about How to Deal with Offense:

  • Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Prov. 19:11
  • For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matt. 6:14-15
  • Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rom. 12:19
  • Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Eph. 4:26-27
  • Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:19-21
  • For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:16
  • Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Gal. 6:1-3
  • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:24-26

Summing Up

Ultimately, every sin is against God. He will deal with it. He will bring about justice and vengeance for any sin that has not been covered by the blood of Jesus. I can entrust myself to the Lord. I don’t have to make people do things. I don’t have to freak out when people don’t understand me or don’t agree with me. I don’t have to try to control them and change them myself.

This doesn’t mean truth is relative. God’s truth is absolute, according to the Bible. But I don’t have to try force truth – or my opinions – on people. I can share with them if they are open to it and trust God to work in their hearts. I can pray for Him to illuminate their eyes.

I can rest in God’s love and goodness. I can rest in His sovereignty and Lordship. And I can invite Him to work powerfully to change and heal me and to transform others and heal them, too.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t ever have to address sin or wrong doing in other people’s lives. I absolutely may need to, at times. I may also need to set very clear boundaries, or even remove myself from certain toxic relationships if people refuse to repent and change if they are severely sinning against me. But I can approach other people’s sin God’s way and from a posture of humility, love, honor, and respect – rather than with a judgmental, critical, hateful spirit.

And I must be very much on guard against a spirit of offense in my heart every day and repent if I notice it is starting to creep in.

Prayer of Repentance

Lord,

Expose the depths of sin in our hearts. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23). Maybe no one has ever confronted us in Your love about our sin. Don’t let us continue to be blind to the great extent of our sin and the massive debt which we owe to You. We all struggle with pride. We all struggle with offense and wanting to be “right.” We are so small – just creatures made of dust. And You are the One true God, King, and Creator of the universe. How dare we exalt ourselves to be equal to You or above You in our hearts and minds?

Our pride offends You. It destroys us. It destroys others around us. It kills our relationships. It creates division and severe damage in our marriages and families. It is an instrument of the enemy. We don’t want to live in pride and a spirit of offense any more! We humble ourselves on our faces before You. We need Your help! We can’t fix ourselves or clean ourselves up. We are a mess without You.

Cleanse us from all of our sin by the powerful blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for us on the cross. We bow humbly before You, acknowledging that You, alone, are worthy to be called, Lord. We are not. We are creatures who are dependent on Your mercy and grace. We have no holiness of our own. Our greatest attempts at righteousness look like bloody, nasty, menstrual rags in Your sight (Isa. 64:6).

Robe us with the holiness and righteousness of Jesus. Transform us and conform us to the image of Christ because that is Your will for us and it is very good (Rom. 8:29) . Purify us and make us clean and radiant in Your sight now and forever!

Help us to grow in humility. Help us to exalt and honor You, alone. Help us to have proper reverence for You in our hearts. Help us to close the door to the enemy and to our flesh and sinful nature. We want to live in the power of Your Spirit from now on and in the power of Jesus’ victory over sin and the grave.

Fill us with love and faith in You. Fill us with Your supernatural love, grace, and mercy for our fellow travelers on this journey. Grant Your beautiful Spirit of unity to our marriages, families, churches, and our nation.

Amen!

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DEVOTION IDEAS

Check out these verses sometime this week. Each topic could make a wonderful study for your devotional time each day.

Bible Verses about Offense

Bible Verses about Pride

Bible Verses about Forgiveness

Bible Verses about Humility

Verses about Vengeance

 

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Praying for Your Husband and Children

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

One of the most powerful ways to pray is to pray the promises and truths of God over other people and ourselves. This way, we know we are praying in God’s will and when we pray in agreement with God’s will, we know He hears us.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:23-24

We must be careful with this! God is not a genie who gives us everything we ask for. But when we are walking in the power of the Spirit, in obedience to the Lord, and we are abiding in Him and His Word is abiding in us, we pray according to God’s will.  That is what it means to ask for things in Jesus’ Name. We are praying according to His will and for the purposes of His kingdom. Our prayers are powerful and effective if we are walking in the righteousness of Christ (James 5:16).

To get ready to pray for other people, or ourselves, we’ll want to:

  1. Have a saving relationship with Jesus ourselves.
  2. Confess and repent of any sin in our own lives.
  3. Praise God for His amazing character.
  4. Thank God for His goodness and His good gifts in our lives.

In this prayer, I am assuming your husband is a believer. But even if he is not, it’s fine to pray for him like this, asking God that he might become a believer in Christ and that he might be completely transformed by the abundant new Life Jesus has prepared for him.

  • First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  or kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:1-4

It is our sacred responsibility and honor to stand in the gap for our husbands, knowing that they are under constant spiritual attack as the leaders of our homes. Who better to pray for them than their wives?The things we are praying together, we declare out loud in faith that God is bringing these things about according to His Word and His will.

Pray with me, inserting the name of your husband (most of these things you can also pray for your children and yourself, as well):

Lord,

We thank and praise You that in Jesus Christ, my husband, _________________, is:

  • The head and not the tail. (Deut. 28:13)
  • More than a conqueror. (Rom. 8:37)
  • Seated in the heavenlies with Jesus. (Eph. 2:6)
  • Able to walk in the power and holiness of Jesus. (Eph. 6:10, 2 Tim. 1:7)
  • The priest and leader of our family. (1 Cor. 11:3,  1 Pet. 2:5)
  • A beautiful representation of the love, humility, leadership, and sacrifice of Jesus in our family. (Eph. 5:22-33)
  • Able to see the God-given way out of any temptation. (1 Cor. 10:13)
  • Able to hear God’s voice clearly and to obey Him. (John 10:27)
  • Able to experience the victory of Christ every day over sin and this world. (Deut. 20:4, Rom. 6:14, Rom. 8:31)
  • Being conformed into the image of Jesus for the glory of God. (Rom. 8:28-29)
  • Held firmly in the loving hand of Jesus and protected by God the Father. (John 17:11)
  • Able to find and live out his God-given calling, spiritual gifts, and ministry. (1 Cor. 12:7)
  • Fruitful for the kingdom of Christ. (John 15:5, Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Filled to overflowing with the Living Water of Christ. (John 7:38)

 

I can even take a passage of Scripture and personalize it to my husband or my children (like the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10):

Lord,

I thank and praise You that my husband is blessed to be able to:

  • Humble himself before You, recognizing how great and exalted You are and how lowly he is.
  • Mourn before You over his own sin and over sin and injustice in this world and that You will comfort him.
  • Hunger and thirst for righteousness and he will be filled!
  • Be merciful so that he will be shown mercy.
  • Be pure in heart for He will see God.
  • Be a peacemaker and a child of God.
  • Be persecuted in this world because of righteousness.
  • Be a citizen of heaven.

Amen!

Or I can pray the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) over my family members and myself:

Lord,

I thank and praise You that Your Spirit is working mightily in my husband, children, and myself to produce heavenly, eternal fruit in us. You are bringing forth unconditional love, divine joy, supernatural peace, godly patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us. Thank You, Lord!

Amen!

I can pray Romans 8 over us:

Lord,

I thank and praise You that we now have the mind of Christ and are no longer under the control of the flesh! Our minds are now life and peace in Jesus! We have the power of the Spirit to put to death the misdeeds of the body. We don’t have a spirit of fear but a Spirit of sonship with Christ Jesus! Thank You that we are all co-heirs with Christ! Thank You that if we share in His sufferings, we can also share in His glory! Thank You that Your Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 

Thank You that You use all things – good and bad – to accomplish Your good purposes in our lives. That You will cause everything to work for our ultimate good and Your glory. Thank You that You are conforming us to the image of Jesus through all that is happening around us and to us. We receive all that You want to do in our lives. Thank You that we are predestined to be Your children. We are called. We are justified by the blood of Jesus. We will be glorified with You in heaven!

Thank You for Your incredible generosity in providing Jesus for our salvation and that You will provide all that we need here in this life and in eternity! Thank You that nothing can separate us from the love of God through Jesus. Thank You that we are more than conquerors through Christ!

Amen!

Or I could pray the prayers of Paul. Or pray through some of the Psalms. Or the promises of Scripture for believers.

 

This is a great way to pray for our children, others, and ourselves, as well!

PRAYER

Lord,

Teach us to walk in Your righteousness, in obedience, and in holiness as we begin to truly grasp the depths of Your love and provision for us. Teach us to pray powerfully and effectively to help birth Your will and Your purposes in our lives and in the lives of those all around us for Your glory! Thank You for the honor and high privilege of prayer that You have given us. Help us to appreciate and value this incredible gift and how You have decided to allow us to be part of Your work on earth.

Amen!

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What are some ways you love to pray for others and for yourself? We’d love to hear about it.

RESOURCES

Verses about Prayer

How Can I Be Sure I Am Praying According to the Will of God?  by www.gotquestions.org

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, “Ask and You Shall Receive?” by www.gotquestions.org

What Is the Key to Effective Prayer? by www.gotquestions.org

A Prayer to Change the Spiritual Atmosphere in Our Homes by Radiant

My Posts about Prayer

E.M. Bounds book “The Necessity of Prayer” – free download

 

11 Reasons We Can’t Afford to Skimp on Thanksgiving and Praise to God

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Ps. 69:30

The more I know the Lord and the more I see of His goodness, character, and love, the more I spontaneously desire to praise and thank Him. It is a natural outpouring that results from understanding who God is and acknowledging all of the innumerable blessings He has given me. Truly, it is the only appropriate response for me as a believer in Christ to my kind, loving, generous, gracious Creator, Savior, and Lord.

Of course, some days praise and thanksgiving comes more easily than others. But whether I feel like giving praise and thanking God or not, there are many good reasons that I want to live a continual lifestyle of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Thankfully, this is a choice of the will that I can make no matter how I may feel in the moment.

11 reasons I want to enthusiastically embrace praise and thanksgiving every single day:

  1. God alone is worthy of all of my praise and thanksgiving.
  2. God calls me, and all believers in Christ, to praise as a vocation – here on earth and in heaven.
    • God created people to praise and worship Him. (Isa. 43:21, Eph. 5:19, Heb. 13:15)
    • I am most joyous, fulfilled, and satisfied when I choose to live out my divine calling and purpose from God.
  3. It is God’s will for me to live in continual thanksgiving and praise. 
    • An attitude like this puts God and my problems in proper perspective and grows my faith.
    • God commands me, as a believer in Christ, to live in thanksgiving and praise because it greatly blesses me, it is an appropriate response to Him, and it honors Him. (Ps. 50:14, Ps. 99:5, Isa. 42:10, 1 Thess. 5:18)
  4. My praise for and thanksgiving to God align me with His good purposes and His will for my life and His kingdom.
    • I agree with God about His goodness and His wisdom when I praise and thank Him. (Col. 3:17)
    • This attitude paves the way for me to walk in joyful obedience to the Lord.
    • My praise and thanksgiving allow God to shift my desires to match His own and to soften my heart to His will.
  5. My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord help to transform wrong, sinful thinking.
    • It is part of allowing God to renew my mind. (Rom. 12:2)
    • When I am boasting in God, I am not boasting in myself. God opposes my human pride but gives grace to me when I am humble. (James 4:6)
    • I acknowledge that He is God and He has all the rights of being Lord and I do not. I learn to lean on His wisdom rather than my own human wisdom. (Prov. 3:5-6)
    • I learn to develop an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one – to see how God will use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
    • Praise and thanksgiving are a huge part of how we take our thoughts captive for Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
  6. God inhabits the praises of His people. 
    • My praise attracts God, makes Him feel welcome, and draws me closer to Him and Him closer to me. (Ps. 22:3, 1 Pet. 2:9)
  7. My praise and gratitude to God create a spirit of faith and trust in me. (Prov. 3:5-6, Heb. 11:6)
    • As I see God for who He really is and all that He has done, I realize I have no reason to fear, unbelief, doubt. My fears melt away as I grasp His greatness and as I taste His goodness. (1 John 4:18)
    • When I remind myself of God’s faithfulness in the past, I see that He will also be faithful in my current and future circumstances. (Ps. 42:6)
  8. Thanksgiving is how God instructs us to approach Him in prayer. 
    • God hates my grumbling/complaining/arguing because it is a clear sign of unbelief and lack of faith.  (Num. 14:27)
    • God responds graciously to my gratitude, trust, and faith. (Phil. 4:6)
  9. Demons feel very unwelcome when there is praise and thanksgiving to God going on. 
    • My praise and thanksgiving to the Lord is a spiritual weapon. As I sing praises to the Lord, evil spirits flee. (1 Sam. 16:23)
    • Sometimes trials come from the enemy to test my faith – just like with Job – to prove that I will turn against the Lord and stop praising Him if I suffer temporarily in this life. (Job 1:9-12)
    • May I never give the enemy of my soul any occasion to mock the Lord! But may I continue to praise God and trust Him no matter what may happen here on earth, knowing He is with me and He is for me and that no weapon formed against me shall prosper! (Isa. 54:17)
    • When I stand on God’s Word and proclaim His truth and praise out loud in faith in Jesus, demonic opposition cannot stand against me. I don’t have power against demons/Satan in my own strength, but in the Name and power of Jesus, I can resist the enemy with the truth about God and the truth of God’s Word. (James 4:7)
  10. Praise and thanksgiving are powerful spiritual prescriptions for depression, discouragement, anxiety, and fear.
    • When David wrote the Psalms, he poured out his heart, burdens, trials, and heavy emotions. Then he always reminded himself to praise God, even when he faced humanly impossible circumstances and his very life was in jeopardy. (Ps. 42:5)
    • It is impossible to continue to feel depressed, defeated, lonely, or discouraged when I set my eyes firmly on the Lord in all His glory and I see His goodness, love, and provision for me! God is infinitely greater than my circumstances and other people.
  11. My sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord open the floodgates of heaven to countless blessings:

NOTE – Trials are a signal to me that I need to greatly increase my praise and thanksgiving to the Lord to allow much more of His Spirit, wisdom, and power to flow into my life and circumstances. My response when under any kind of spiritual attack or warfare must include much praise and thanksgiving to the Lord!

 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

 

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RELATED

Bible Study Tools definition of Praise

Why Is Praising God Important? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does It Mean to Praise God? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Thankfulness/Gratitude? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Ingratitude/Unthankfulness? by www.gotquestions.org

 

Becoming Fearless

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

 

Today, let’s talk about the beauty of a godly woman who doesn’t yield to fear (1 Pet. 3:4-6) This is something the Lord has been teaching me, personally, this year through quite a few trials. I am still learning, but He has brought me a long way! I just had to share these treasures with my precious sisters.

My natural temptation is to look at difficult circumstances, frustrating actions/words from other people, or the news and to completely freak out when bad things happen. My temptation is to react in fear and to run and hide or to try to protect myself in my own wisdom. But when fear is my motive, I will make destructive choices every time.

To be fearless, I can’t:

  • Center my life on the details of the storm of my current circumstances.
  • Obsess about what terrible things might happen.
  • Try to figure everything out myself.
  • Depend on my feelings or past experiences as sources of absolute truth.
  • Try to control things, people, or God to get them to do what I think is best at the time.
  • Become consumed by what other people are doing or saying – or not doing and saying.
  • Resort to human wisdom or human solutions.
  • Listen to the lying voice of the enemy who wants me to give in to hopelessness, discouragement, distraction, depression, and the flesh.

To be fearless, I must keep my focus fully on Jesus and depend on Him to lead me and to do the heavy lifting!

To be fearless, I need to know who Jesus is and know who I am in Him. My security has to be in Him alone.

I don’t have to be shaken. I don’t have to crumble into worry, fear, and anxiety.

Even when things do not go the way I had planned, and I don’t understand what is happening, and even when my heart is hurting and broken, I can stand on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. He alone will never leave me and never fail me. He will sustain me in supernatural ways – even in the midst of my greatest fears. He is my Good Shepherd. He has provisions for me that I can’t know specifically ahead of time. But I can know that He has them and He knows what to do! He has ways of handling circumstances, people, and my own heart and mind that are vastly superior to any scheme I could concoct.

I am in the palm of God’s loving hand! My husband and my children are in the palm of His loving hand!

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim. 1:7 ESV

Fear is not the abundant life Jesus died to provide for us. His victory over sin, death, and the grave provides a victorious life. He gives us His own Spirit. He gives us His presence. He gives us access to the very Holy of Holies in heaven – 24/7!?! He gives us the death, burial, resurrection, power, and authority of Christ. He gives us thousands of great and precious promises! Why should I be afraid?

If we could only grasp even just the following promises God gives us in Romans chapter 8 alone, what spiritual strength we would have!

  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
  • For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6 
  • For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons. Rom. 8:15
  • (We are)…heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom. 8:17
  • The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Rom. 8:26
  • The Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rom. 8:27
  • We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28
  • For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, Rom. 8:29
  • If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom. 8:31-32
  • No, in all these things (various hardships) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Rom. 8:37 
  • For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39

If I am willing, each new scary thing that happens is an opportunity for me to learn to stand more firmly on God’s Word, His love, and His truth. It is a faith-stretching moment. It is a chance to lay my specific fears down before God and to entrust them to Him. It is also a chance to lay my life down as a living sacrifice to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). It is an opportunity for me to invite God to work supernaturally in my heart, in other people’s lives, and in circumstances for His glory. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to shine for Christ in the darkness and to experience the miraculous provision of God in that exact situation.

I have an incredible Savior and Lord who is going to accomplish His good purposes in my life and in this world as I trust Him!

Lord,

Transform us. Melt away our fear with Your supernatural, amazing love. Lift up our heads. Let us see that You are coming soon! Help us use our time wisely and let each of us be prepared to stand before You without regrets. Empower us to be the godly women You call us to be. Let us love, honor, and respect our husbands. Let us bless them. Let us love, bless, and nurture our children, teaching them Your truth and Your ways. Let us share the Gospel and love and life of Christ with those around us.

Let us be faithful to all that You desire us to do. Empower us to be good stewards of all of the resources, talents, and gifts You have given us. Help us become women of fervent prayer, women who know the Word and handle it rightly.  Use us to stand in the gap for our husbands, children, churches, communities, nations, and the world. Use us – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to help storm the gates of hell to reach those who are perishing. Use us to be salt and light in a decaying, dark world.

We praise and thank You for all You have done, all You are doing and all You will do in our lives! We rejoice and sing songs of adoration to You!

Make each of us fearless in Christ by Your power and for Your glory!

Amen!

RELATED SONG

Francesca Battistelli’s –The Breakup Song (breaking up with fear)

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